Sam Elliott as Shea and Tim McGraw as James of the Paramount+ original series 1883
Photo Cr: Emerson Miller/Paramount+ (C) 2022 MTV Entertainment Studios

Tim McGraw and Faith Hill Were 'Ugly Crying' Over That Devastating '1883' Finale


Warning, spoilers ahead for the finale episode of 1883. 

Yellowstone fans were taken on quite an emotional journey in the Dutton family origin story of prequel series 1883. Series creator Taylor Sheridan wrote a beautiful but heartbreaking story that did an incredible job of illustrating why the Yellowstone Ranch is so important to the Duttons. Ever since the opening scene of the first season, fans have been wondering what fate was in store for fan-favorite Elsa Dutton (Isabel May) after she suffered a Lakota arrow wound to the liver. Our questions were answered in the final moments of the episode. It was impossible not to cry watching Elsa die in her father James Dutton's (Tim McGraw) arms after their family finally made it to Montana.

Discovering how the season would end was emotionally difficult for Tim McGraw and his real-life and on-screen wife Faith Hill.

"When we got the final two [episode scripts], we literally couldn't read them to each other because we were crying so much -- I mean, ugly, boohoo crying," McGraw told Variety.


"I was a blubbering idiot. It was just so well-written, so devastating and heartbreaking, but at the same time, so on point and poignant for what 'Yellowstone' turned out to be. It just gives you all the reasons in the world why they fight so hard for that land and why their family fights so hard for to keep what they have. It just made perfect sense."

Read More: '1883' Recap: The Duttons Make it to Montana But Nearly Lose Everything

Faith Hill, who played Elsa's mother Margaret, explained that the two of them just cried their eyes out reading the final episodes, but also knew that they now had a huge responsibility bringing the story to the screen. The finale episode, "This Is Not Your Heaven," was going to be an emotional journey to say the least.

"When I finally finished reading Episode 10 to him [husband Tim McGraw], we both just sat there and said, "My God, this is one of the most incredible stories we've ever read." I knew the weight and responsibility of playing Margaret and telling the story and bringing her to life -- I felt an enormous responsibility. I did not want to fail."


Hill also noted that she isn't sure what Elsa's death is going to mean for Margaret and James's marriage moving forward. Prior to the season finale, Paramount announced that they would be ordering additional episodes of 1883 but made sure to note that it would not be labeled as a second season.

Isabel May as Elsa and Faith Hill as Margaret of the Paramount+ original series 1883

Photo Cr: Emerson Miller/Paramount+ (C) 2022 MTV Entertainment Studios

"I mean, I'm angry" Hill said. "Imagine knowing that your child is going to die and you cannot be by their side? I can't even imagine it ever. I have not recovered. I really don't know."

But Elsa wasn't the only main character with a tragic end. Sam Elliott's Shea Brennan ended his own life after fulfilling a promise to his wife to see the Pacific Ocean. Other than Thomas, Noemi, and Josef, the rest of the wagon train perished, never actually getting to see the promised paradise of Oregon. But Tim McGraw explains that he's just as in the dark as we are as to what the future holds for this Yellowstone spinoff, especially after it was announced that a second prequel set in 1932 would be in the works soon.

"We just don't know. We're sort of in limbo like everyone else. We're excited about what's to come and excited about what he [Taylor Sheridan] writes and can't wait to see however it develops."


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